National Archives at St. Louis

What is an Official Military Personnel File (OMPF)?


Personnel Record Portion: The Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) is primarily an administrative record, containing information about the subject's service history such as: date and type of enlistment/appointment; duty stations and assignments; training, qualifications, performance; awards and decorations received; disciplinary actions; insurance; emergency data; administrative remarks; date and type of separation/discharge/retirement (including DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent); and other personnel actions. Detailed information about the veteran's participation in battles and their military engagements is NOT contained in the record.

Starting in 1995, the military service departments gradually began retaining their personnel records in electronic format; and all, but the Coast Guard, have stopped transferring them to the NPRC. Requests for these records should be submitted to their respective service departments (see Records Location Table for a listing and location of military service records). Please note: the Department of the Army has granted the NPRC access to the electronic OMPFs of its former military personnel (except for General Officers) to respond to reference requests.

Health Record Portion: Some OMPFs contain both personnel and active duty health records. Health records cover the outpatient, dental and mental health treatment that former members received while in military service. Health records include induction and separation physical examinations, as well as routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital. In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records were generated when active duty members were actually hospitalized while in the service. Typically, these records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to the NPRC by the facility which created them (see clinical records for more information).

In the past, all of the military services retired the individual health record, along with the personnel record, to the NPRC upon a service member's separation from active duty. The Army and the Air Force retired its health records with the Official Military Personnel File, while the Department of the Navy retired these files separately to the NPRC until the 1980s. In the late 1980s, the Department of the Navy (like the Army and Air Force) began retiring health records of individual Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard service members with the OMPF.

However, in the 1990s, the military services discontinued the practice of filing the health record with the personnel record portion. In 1992, the Army began retiring most of its former members' health records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Over the next six years, the other services followed suit - Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in 1994 and Coast Guard in 1998 (see Records Location Table for a listing of personnel and health records holdings and locations).

After this change, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Records Management Center, in St. Louis, MO, became responsible for maintaining active duty health records and managing their whereabouts when on loan within the VA. Call the VA toll free number at 1-800-827-1000 to identify the current location of specific health records and to find out how to obtain releasable documents or information.

As currently scheduled, all medical treatment records are temporary (non-permanent) records. However, any medical records filed with the OMPF are considered part of that record and are maintained with it.

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